Have you ever thought about how the app you are using got into the App Store? How was it created? How do people and companies generate income from Apps? Why are some free, while others require payment? How is the price decided upon, and what really is all that stuff in the terms and conditions? Most importantly…if YOU have an idea for an App, where do you even start?
I had no experience with App development before I made the big decision to venture into this world with the Speech Sounds Visualized App. I learned a lot along the way, so in this 1st installment of “Where do Apps Come From?” it is my hope I can answer some of these questions for you. Let’s face it, getting an App into the App Store or the Google Play Store is a HUGE endeavor and takes a lot of time and determination, but I would advocate it is well worth the effort…so let’s get down to the details.
You have this AWESOME IDEA for an App, right?! Ok now you need a developer (unless you are a wicked cool coder in your spare time). I chose to turn to Upwork.com to find my perfect match (shout out to Doug the developer with Mouseless Media!!) I also chose to work with an attorney to draw up a document that would protect me throughout the process so that that code would be my/hospital property upon completion, among other considerations. I then entered a months-long period of communicating extremely clearly with the coder (Woohooo Doug!) because after all, the developer cannot read your mind, nor should they be expected to do so. Over a period of many months we made adaptations and changes until finally…we had an App worthy of the App Store.
This was all happening back in the fall of 2017, and even though I had done tons of research, reached out to industry experts, etc., nothing had prepared me for the feeling of actually seeing my idea come to life and be searchable in the App Store. It was incredible! My vision for this new technology had come true. I had built it (well Doug the developer had built it 😊), but would people download it?? How would people even discover it existed? Once found, what would people think of it? We were about to find out…I hit the submit button aaaaannnnd…..Apple just needed a few more things for it to meet their very high standards for publication.
You get the idea here. It is NOT easy. It felt like a million steps involved just to launch the App and then there would be a million more to promote the App. After a few more minor tweaks, we were finally able to hit that submit button just prior to Christmas day and by December 27th the team and I were staring at our creation in the App Store.
The App Store allows us to see basic data about how many Apps have been sold and in which countries it was sold in. We can also see things like total number of “sessions” or times the App has been used. Contrary to popular assumption, we cannot see anyone’s personal accounts so we really have no way of knowing exactly who has our App and what exactly they use it for. (Nor do we have any ability to “get in there” and make changes to someone’s account like renewing a subscription for them or canceling a subscription for them.)
I recall being SO excited because we could see that one of our 1st downloads was in Poland! It was thrilling to think that someone in Poland had found benefit in our App. You can imagine how easy it would become to be glued to these stats, measuring what felt at the time like our sense of worth in the volume of sales. In fact, I’ll admit that in those first few months I became absolutely obsessed with logging on to view these analytics. I celebrated each and every download. I watched in awe as the listing for Speech Sounds Visualized rose in the ranks through the sea of high-quality speech therapy apps.
We are now consistently ranked in the top 10 for speech therapy Apps. I read somewhere that becoming more visible in the App Store is a lot like getting a more prominent spot in a huge mall. You can either be buried deep within the mall where very few will happen to find you, or you can be up front and with a billboard. Getting that level of visibility takes a good idea, grit and determination, and a solid marketing plan. It’s important to note that your marketing plan does not necessarily have to be extremely costly. We have accomplished a great deal while being scrappy in our endeavors!
Still thinking of creating an App? Awesome! Here are some final tips and tricks to get you through to my next installment:
1. Don’t accept failure - you are learning new things!
2. Learn to be uncomfortable - follow your gut
3. Do your research - and then do it again
4. Pursue all leads and network
5. Be passionate
Until next time...
Take care my friends,